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Tennis: Spain cautious as Nadal and Ferrer face Germany (AFP)

  • 11.04.2008
BREMEN, Germany, April 11, 2008 (AFP)

Spain will unleash Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer on under-dogs Germany when the Davis Cup quarter-final gets underway here on Friday.

However team captain Emilio Sanchez says nothing is being taken for granted.

Nadal, the world number two, takes on Germany's Nicolas Kiefer, ranked 47th in the world, in the first singles match before Germany's number one Philipp Kohlschreiber, ranked 25, lines up against Ferrer, fifth in the world.

But for all their individual superiority, Spain were in a cautious mood after Thursday's draw.

"Germany have won nine of the matches we've played against them, and we've only won four," said Spain captain Sanchez.

"You can never be over-confident against the Germans."

But based purely on performances on the ATP Tour, it's hard to see Spain as anything other than overwhelming favourites.

The only potential banana skin for the Spanish is the surface at Bremen's AWD Dome.

Spain have had problems on indoor courts in the past, but will play on a hard court rather than the carpet which caused them problems when they suffered a shock 4-1 defeat to the Netherlands in 2001.

"This court will not be so tricky for us," said Sanchez as Spain look to claim a third Davis Cup victory following their success in 2000 and 2004. "Rafael and David have had very good results on this surface, the same one that is used on the Tour."

Germany captain Patrik Kuhnen has been forced to name a team without Tommy Haas and doubles specialist Aleksandr Waske because of injury.

"It's difficult because we'll be playing number two and five in the world but we're looking forward to getting started," said Kuhnen.

"The court is no guarantee. It's going to be very tough. Spain is a very strong team that could win the Davis Cup."

The tie continues on Saturday with the doubles rubber between Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez on the Spanish side, against Kohlschreiber and Philipp Petzschner, before Sunday's reverse singles round things off.

Friday
Nicolas Kiefer (GER) v Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) v David Ferrer (ESP)

Saturday
Philipp Kohlschreiber/Philipp Petzschner (GER) v Feliciano Lopez/Fernando
Verdasco (ESP)

Sunday
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) v Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Nicolas Kiefer (GER) v David Ferrer (ESP)

ryj/jd


(AFP)